Imperial Adventurers Guild
Imperial Adventurers Guild is a rather unique pan-imperial organization that is actually much more decentralized that practically any other similar organization. One that is also an attempt to govern – or at least more or less control – something which is basically impossible to govern. But also something that has to be governed. Adventurers are something typical to every civilization in the world history – with even Xylian Dominion having something akin to them. They are people of various origins, unconnected to any particular part of society – their vocation making them free of such obligations by default – that with their skills with swords and magic serve as a forefront of eternal war between civilization and its opposition, between Reality and Unreality, between magic and blessed but stagnant 'normalcy'. Where a griffin ravages trade route – one calls for adventurers to hunt it. When cultists summon daemons in some abandoned fortress – one calls for adventurers to pacify them. When local alchemists need some particular ingredient – one calls for adventurers. When unspeakable horrors plan the demise of humanity – one calls for adventurers. If only to hold them at bay for a 'proper' forces to arrive. Adventurers are basically men that willingly take up arms to serve on the border between what's real and unreal. In Imperium every person that does that is considered adventurer. Even when village militia has local hunter to serve as a scout to search for magical threats in the forest around the hamlet, he is still more or less an adventurer, even if he doesn't call himself that way and doesn't think of himself that way. As such, trying to organize adventurers in any meaningful way is extremely ardurous task. Many adventurers doesn't think of themselves as one. Many other flee that way from heavy hands of law. Their stressful lives (not to mention seeing and contacting many things that normal citizens can't even imagine) also makes them a problem, with many lawful places shunning most of them. In the very same time they are one of most powerful assets, their sheer numbers making them important backbone of magical industry and civilization as a whole. Some of them come from royal families where, especially as youngest sons or daughters, they had no other way to spend their lives. Others were – and still are – a slaves. Some of them does that due to their religious views – other for money. Some of them can barely defeat weakest of daemons – others, especially in group, face toughest and most terrible beings. Some of them are barely more than glorified criminals – other are heroes in ragged clothes, steel of their characters shining most gloriously when met with adversities. It is hard to find a more varied social strata in Imperium of Karadia.
Adventurers as a whole are practically incapable of forming any sort of organizations, leading to attempts to make them a part of imperial war (and industrial) machine being more that impractical. Rather than that Imperium (practically from its true birth in Dawn War) decided to approach the problem indirectly. Adventurers are allowed to organize them however they like. There are many temporary groups, some of them bordering on local guilds, with its own secrets and agenda. There are also no limits on their recruitment, as trying to enforce ban on hiring certain groups would be simply impractical if not downright impossible, since with the size of the Imperium it would be a nightmare for its already strained administracy. Imperium, instead, works as a more of a recruitment agency. More ambitious adventurers might approach Imperial Adventurers Guild and become a part of it after a series of hard exams, supposed to test their capabilities and backgrounds. Those with criminal past are automatically discarded. Those that pass have access to wide array of jobs issued to the IAG by citizens of Imperium and its vassal states. With much lower chance of the adventurers turning out to be a scam or a wanted criminal. With adventurers that are properly screened and have their skills evaluated (so that killteams sent to hunt certain daemon can be properly 'adjusted'). Of course, accidents still happen. And one has to pay a lot for the Imperial Adventurers Guild to be able to use its exquisite cadre of adventurers. That's why the non-imperial ones still have a lot of work. Though the higher one goes in terms of mission difficulty, the more imperial adventurer one can find. Such approach allowed for lowering ammount of required administration, with lot of it actually merged with vassal states hierarchy. As most of them have their own adventurer organization (mostly focused on giving them mission according to their skills and, of course, taxing them properly), with local organizations being able to relay missions from IAG – for example if somebody asked IAG to hunt down the griffin in southern Hellana, local adventurers guild might relay the mission to the passing imperial adventurers. There are also certain central headquarters, that oversee supplying Imperial Army with enough imperial adventurers to form Imperial Army's Auxilliary and the local organizations as a whole, ensuring (or at least trying) that no corruption grows there. It is, as a whole, subject of Imperial Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Chief agenda of IAG is avoiding chaos connected with already 'chaotic' adventurers as a whole. Nobody likes lots of armed men (and women, but they are rarer) on his territory but outside of his control. Especially when they can use magic or aura. Not to mention that they can be a true nightmare in case of riot, since while organized military can marchem through them easily on open ground, their ability to root out resistance in fighting within houses or small alleyways can be... terrific. IAG gives illusion of stability and control while lowering number of actions like adventurer turning out to be traitor (which can be a problem, especially when a group of them is all that stands between a lone village and rampaging daemon of Pentagram). Not to mention allowing Imperium to profit from their work, as it routinely pays to the imperial treasury more than it receives.
IAG is surprisingly wealthy and capable of moving around great numbers of armed (and dangerous) people, making gaining control over it a profitable thing. Not to mention the access to many treasure troves of rare equipment and materials it likes to reward more sucessful adventurers with. It also has a number of places where very competent people can evaluate skills of candidates. Imperium (always loving its closed and safe tables and documents) segregated them in ten levels (according to its typical ranking). In fact, however, it is connected to the strenght of the threat they can be send against (in groups, at least), meaning that rank 7 (Orichalcum) adventurers are extremely rare and insanely costly to hire. However, considering the fact that a group (5-6 normally, 10 sometimes) of them can take down a beings capable of destroying whole city single-handedly (one up to few hundred thousand citizens), it is understandable. Training of adventurers is typically outsourced to training guilds scattered around the Imperium as a whole. Their coordination is, however, quite close considering the fact that training guilds require IAG permission (renewed every ten years) to work.
As most of the Imperium, basics of IAG were founded during, or right after Dawn War, with the changes over the passing millenia relatively small and including mostly small things. It simply works. And if doesn't work, this isn't fault of organization but of people that work in it, with 99% of reforms including simply replacing officials and small internal reorganizations.
Demography and Population
It is simply impossible to guess how many imperial adventurers are out there, especially as most of IAG lower strata (and even evaluation centers) are closely tied to local adventurer organization. Their documents aren't doubled everywhere else (paper is, after all, limited) meaning that an imperial adventurer that wants to move from Visenia to Vhessana needs to have his papers moved there (in most cases he carries them himself, sealed with magic). Their number also varies, tending to be closely related to the needs of industry. The more expansive it is, the more adventurers are needed to provide aether, alchemical ingredients and so on – while mass production of lower grade items isn't a problem, there is always need for more... exotic items. And since wherever demand exists there is a supply... According to latest imperial population census, among 213 millions of citizens approximately 23 millions marked 'adventurers' as their vocation and social standing. With probably up to 4-5 millions being imperial adventurers.
- Guild, Fighter / Mercenary
- Imperial Adventurer.